Stand up for the facts!
Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.
I would like to contribute
What do Donald Trump and Justin Bieber have in common?
How about a case of abortion contortion?
Sarah Palin compared their abortion stances during the Feb. 1 edition of CNN's The Lead. Jake Tapper asked the former Alaska governor and Trump supporter about Trump's turnabout on the issue of abortion.
"Donald Trump is somebody who has clearly had different positions on issues that he has today," said Tapper. "He called himself very pro-choice. Now he says he's very pro-life."
"I am so glad Mr. Trump has seen the light," Palin responded, saying it was sad that anti-abortion groups were giving the candidate a hard time about his switch when other people who have had a change of heart on the issue have been celebrated.
She cited, as an example, singer Justin Bieber.
Tapper didn't quite understand and, in essence, asked her, what do you mean?
Bieber "has made statements understanding the sanctity of life but in the past said (abortion) was no big deal to him," Palin said. "He’s just one example."
We wondered whether the pop star really had the same type of conversion as Trump or whether Palin had gone overboard.
Trump's change of position on the abortion question is well-established. When Trump was first considering a third-party presidential run in 1999, he said on NBC's Meet the Press that although he hated the concept of abortion, "I am pro-choice in every respect." By mid February 2011, when there was talk again that he would run for president, he declared, "I am pro-life."
Whether the Biebs transitioned from abortion support to abortion opposition is not as clear.
We contacted Palin through her political action committee and sought comment from Bieber through the office of his manager, Scooter Braun. We didn't hear back from either.
So we decided to try to find out for ourselves. No pressure.
The only reference to the abortion issue we could find was Bieber's interview with Rolling Stone, published in February 2011. He was 16 at the time.
"I really don't believe in abortion. I think (an embryo) is a human," Bieber told the magazine. "It's like killing a baby."
When he was asked about abortion in cases of rape, his response was, "Um. Well, I think that's really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I don't know how that would be a reason. I guess I haven't been in that position, so I wouldn't be able to judge that."
The rape comment in particular caused some controversy at the time, and since then Bieber has shied away from the issue.
He got drawn back into it peripherally when his mother, Pattie Mallette, a born-again Christian, promoted a short anti-abortion film in 2013. Mallette had previously written of the pressure she experienced to have an abortion when she was 17 and carrying the now-pop superstar.
The Chicago Sun-Times said in a Jan. 21, 2013, story that it had spoken with an unnamed "longtime Bieber associate" who claimed, "I don't believe he agrees with his mom on this issue."
Some might interpret that to mean that Bieber is now pro-abortion — which would signal a new position on abortion that, sorry, does not fit Palin’s point. However, PolitiFact has a policy of not relying on unnamed or secondhand sources to speak for what others believe.
Palin said Bieber "has made statements understanding the sanctity of life but in the past said (abortion) was no big deal to him."
At PolitiFact, we believe it's the responsibility of the person making a claim to provide the evidence to back it up. Palin didn't respond to our query.
The only reasonable conclusion at this point is that Bieber hasn’t changed his position on abortion like Trump.
Nonetheless, we never say never: If on-the-record evidence of Bieber supporting abortion prior to his Rolling Stone interview turns up, we'll consider a different ruling.
Until then, Palin’s claim is not substantiated. We rate her claim False.
CNN, "The Lead With Jake Tapper," Feb. 1, 2016
PolitiFact, "Fiorina: Trump's abortion flip-flop," Aug. 11, 2015
RollingStone.com, "Justin Bieber Talks Sex, Politics, Music and Puberty In New 'Rolling Stone' Cover Story," Feb. 16, 2011, accessed Feb. 3, 2016
NYDailyNews.com, "Justin Bieber in Rolling Stone: Abortion is 'killing a baby' - even in cases of rape," Feb. 17, 2011, accessed Feb. 3. 2016
The Canadian Press, "Rolling Stone amends Justin Bieber's comments on abortion," Feb. 17, 2011, accessed Feb. 3, 2016
Chicago Sun-Times, "MOM's reel opinion; Bieber uneasy as his mother pushed anti-abortion film," Jan. 21, 2013, accessed Feb. 3, 2016
LiveActionNews.org, "10 people who changed their minds about abortion - and changed history," March 23, 2015, accessed Feb. 3, 2016
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.